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It looks like Google is about to unleash a new wave of more powerful applications for Google Glass. Currently, Glass developers can only build apps that are essentially web-based services that talk to the user’s hardware through a set of relatively limited APIs. At its I/O developer conference earlier this year, Google announced that it would soon release its so-called Glass Development Kit (GDK), which would let them build Android-based apps for Glass that can run directly on the device.

So far, however, Google hasn’t launched the GDK. Instead, Google today encouraged developers who are waiting for the GDK to start working on Android apps for Glass using the standard Android SDK (API Level 15) to try out their ideas.

As Google notes, developers can use the SDK to access low-level hardware to render OpenGL and use stock Android UI widgets, for example. Developers can also access the accelerometer of Glass through the SDK.

Glass, after all, runs Android 4.0.4, so it’s a pretty well-known platform for many developers. To help newcomers get started, though, the company also released a number of sample apps (a stopwatch, compass and level) today that highlight some of the things developers can do with Android on Glass. Over the next few weeks, Glass team member Alain Vongsouvanh writes on Google+ today, the team will also use these sample apps to “demonstrate the migration path between a traditional Android app and a full Glass experience.”

For Glass to reach its full potential, developers need better access to the device’s hardware, so it’s nice to see Google moving ahead with this. It’s still a bit of a surprise that Google hasn’t released the GDK yet. And the fact that it made today’s announcement indicates that it could still be a few weeks out. If you’re a Glass developer, though, now is probably a good time to start thinking about how you would use Android on Glass.

Google Glass

Google has quietly patched a Glass security exploit that could have allowed hackers to take control of the wearable by showing it a QR code, the researcher who identified the flaw tells SlashGear. The exploit, discovered by Marc Rogers, Principal Security Researcher at Lookout Mobile Security, took advantage of Glass’ streamlined setup process that saw the camera automatically – and transparently to the wearer – spot QR codes in images and use them to trigger WiFi connections and other configurations. By creating malicious codes, and hiding them in images, Rogers was able to get Glass to connect to a compromised network, show details of all network traffic from the wearable, and even take full remote control. The exploit – which we referred to in our June interview with Rogers, though without specific details as Google and Lookout were still addressing the fix at the time – has been fixed as of Glass firmware XE6, released on June 4.

Read the full story at Slashgear.

GlassUp

While Google Glass’s arrival date as a consumer-facing product remains something of a mystery, as does the final pricing structure, we do know it’s in the hands of only a few developers and it currently costs $1,500. This obviously set a challenge for a startup in Italy that thinks it can do better, and at a cheaper price point of just $300 with a March 2014 delivery date. They’ve just kicked off a $150,000 Indiegogo campaign to fund the devices, but claim also to have already found private backing. GlassUp is the name of this AR device and it promises a laundry list of services: Through its tiny on-glasses projector unit it will display: Emails, texts, and other status updates like calendar events and calls, Breaking news, Real-time feedback for sports activities, Turn-by-turn navigation instructions, Translations and more.

Read the full story at Fast Co. Labs.

The USPTO has published a new patent application today from Google, which describes in comprehensive detail the complete system that would go on to become Google Glass, originally filed in August of 2011. The newly discovered patent describes not only individual components of Glass as we’ve seen previously, but the overall system, including display, frames, image projection and capture, wireless connections, sensors and more.

Some of the technical drawings included in the patent look a lot like the Google Glass we’ve come to know and love from its public appearance adorning sky divers and tech company founders who could be mistaken for jewel thieves. But others depict designs that resemble cheap paper 3D glasses, and hipster specs you might expect to see at Warby Parker. Google is clearly looking at multiple ways to bring Glass to market, aside from the sci-fi style visor it’s been showing around.

The text of the patent gets into extreme technical detail, offering a granular look at how Glass actually functions. It describes how the lens mounted display would operate in relation to the movement of a wearer’s head to keep the projected image consistent, and how objects in the real world can be overlaid with digital images to create augmented reality experiences. It goes into detail about various configurations of glasses arms and where the housing for the ‘brains’ of the device could be located relative to the rest of the glasses apparatus, and talks about building touch-sensitive surfaces into frame to accept user input.

Google also describes the limitations of current wearable tech interfaces in a section on background, which it uses to essentially give a reasoning for its creation of Google Glass. Existing systems were, in a word, deficient, according to the company’s filing:

Both head-mounted and heads-up displays can be connected to a video source that receives a video signal that the device can read and convert into the image that they present to the user. The video source can be received from a portable device such as a video player, a portable media player or computers […] The functionality of these types of displays is, however, limited to passive actions wherein the display simply receives information from an external source and presents it to the wearer in limited forms. Accordingly, further advances in wearable devices including displays have been needed.

Some of the more interesting elements from the detailed description of the patent include alternative display methods. We’ve seen the use of lens-mounted displays in the current prototype, but the patent also describes alternatives including “a laser or LED source and scanning system [that] could be used to draw a raster display directly onto the retina of one or more of the user’s eyes.” That sounds a little terrifying but also potentially exciting.

Overall, the patent is primarily about locking down Google’s IP with respect to the Glass project in as technically detailed a manner as possible, but it’s an interesting read for gadget heads or engineers who want to learn more about the nitty-gritty background behind Google’s most daring consumer hardware project.

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